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Five Things Everyone Thinks They’d Be Great At

Five Things Everyone Thinks They’d Be Great At

See that painting above?  Is it something I did in three minutes with a ruler and some sidewalk chalk?  Or is it a famous painting hanging in a museum in San Francisco (future home of the Football Hall of Fame after Harbaughombardi rewrites the record books; I will be disappointed in anything less than 85-0 over the next five years after last week’s The Decision-esque fiasco)?  I don’t want the suspense to boil over in here, so I will reveal the truth: it’s some famous painting hanging in a museum in San Francisco (ex-home of the single stupidest football coach I have ever seen – somebody should compile Singletary’s most moronic moves and put them on Youtube – probably would require parts 1-8.  Legend.  Nice guy though, thinks highly of God and stuff.)

Everyone who looks at modern art c0mes to the same conclusion: “shit, I could art it up better than that shit.”  These feelings are particularly strong when looking at paintings that are just like one red line; I love when people are there interpreting the meaning of that shit.  To me – no great purveyor of the arts, for sure – I believe art to be stuff (paintings, drawings, sculptures) that looks like – or evokes – real stuff…like dragons or fruits.  But a single red line on a canvas?  I could totally do that, and my artistic talents are pretty limited (I say that because I’m trying to be internet modest – I can draw like DMC.  Especially owls, I can draw a pretty solid owl.)  There are a few other talents/careers/whatnot that everybody feels they’d be killer at (and for me, “headline creator for free, not widely read website” wouldn’t be one of them – I spent like ten minutes debating the best title for this post and still ended up with a GD preposition at the end.  I should’ve gone with “Five Things Everyone Thinks They’d Be Fucking At, Fucking Grammar Snob.”)

Five Things Everybody Thinks – No, Knows – They’d Be Fucking Great At

5.  Modern Artist. I first started thinking about this when we were in Dallas last month – we checked out an exhibit of sculptures from some crazy texan who just welds random shit together, let’s it age for ten years, pours milk on it, welds some more shit to it, puts glitter on, and then decides what it all means.  (Interestingly for FNL fans – and if you aren’t an FNL fan, please go fuck yourself, again – I’m pretty sure the guy Saracen is working with in season four is modeled after James Magee.  Speaking of Saracen, he’s apparently back on a new show.  Unfortunately, that show is on ABC and is by the fuckers that created Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, so it will surely be a gratuitous atrocity.)

Modern art. Bunch of metal in a case. I can do that.

Old school art. Looks like my friend Diego. I cannot do that.

4.  Writer (or Blogger/Novelist/Screenwriter). Everyone knows, deep down, that they are funnier, smarter and more interesting than everyone else.  Thus everyone has that great novel, hilarious blog, or high-dollar screenplay lurking just below the surface of their day-to-day tedium.  Rarely, however, do people actually sit down and take a shot.  But everybody thinks they can and, likely, will.  (I could be a bit of a cautionary tale here, as I thought it was very, very, very likely that I would immediately vault to the top of the virtual internet heap once I unleashed my vivid life experiences and witty bon mots on the cyber audience.  Now, almost two years in, I am still lagging and in eyeballs.  (And, if I eliminated the “eyeballs” that are Romanian spambots, it’s most likely just me, my mom (Diddy – she said thanks for the thoughtful gifts!) and a handful of dedicated potentialzers that need a way to unwind after their Chatroulette sessions).

But don’t worry, you can totally step up where I fell short.  That screenplay about the gyro vendor who goes on to become a famous concert pianist has legs.  Seriously.  (Although, that homeless guy with the radio voice who just got a job with the Cavs probably stole a lot of your thunder.)  As for me, I have dialed down my expectations a bit for 2011; instead of a Ferrari I’m hoping to score a couple of Beefy Crunch Burritos – only $0.99 and they have Flamin Hot Fritos up in there!  Delicious and nutricious.  At least I’m assuming they’re pretty nutritious, they also have nacho cheese, sour cream and rice, so can’t be too bad for you.

If you think I'm gonna shy away from white suits once this website hits it big, you have seriously misconstrued some shit.

3.  Race Car Driver. There might be a little debate on this, as at least a handful of mouth-breathing NASCAR fans (No offense, Bro.  Or JWinnie – you guys both totally breath through your noses) will try to say how difficult it is and how much of a sport it is.  I disagree.  Strongly.  I can drive a car.  Unlike, say, baseball – I cannot hit even an 80 mph fastball.  I would likely be hard-pressed to tackle Adrian Peterson in the open field.  But drive a car in a circle, fast?  No fucking problem.  If I can navigate the shitty corridor from Memphis to Little Rock at 80 mph (ironically, the same speed that killed my burgeoning baseball career) while avoiding all the meth dealers running from the cops and seventeen year olds racing to the hospital to have their third kids, I could drive a fucking race car.  (This one I’m 100% confident in.  If you bastards would have just bought some industrial machinery through the Amazon link – assuming those A-holes in Seattle would have actually given me credit for it –  I’d have totally bought that Ferrari and catapulted myself into the middle-aged racing circuit that I’m sure exists.)

Looking cool in goggles is probably harder than driving quickly around a circle.

2.  DJ. This is probably the one that most people have taken a shot at – iPods and shit have made it way too easy to demonstrate your great fucking taste in tunes that will ignite the dance floor.  Fuck, I could rock any kinda party just by throwing on the Bee Gees station on Pandora (but that doesn’t count because then it’s some kind of algorithm or something deciding what sweet jams to play.)

Say, hypothetically, I’m an attendee at a killer party (of likeminded forty year olds rocking olive khakis and horizontally-striped button downs), when suddenly the DJ is stricken ill (likely a food allergy, or he doesn’t enjoy the sight of Dockers).  “Chilly,” the hosts will say, “you are pretty down with the tunes, can you help us out here?”  Assuming I modestly decline before ultimately obliging the host’s request, here’s how I’d open things up.

  • “Rock The Bells” – LL Cool J (got to start old school)
  • “Tom’s Diner” – DNA featuring Suzanne Vega (more on this later)
  • “Rock You Like A Hurricane” – Scorpions (you gotta have some hair metal and I have no Winger on me)
  • “The Power Is On” – The Go! Team (that one head-nodding tune from the NFL commercial, the one they play 1/5 as much as the Breesus commercial.  Remind me to tell ya’ll about the time I met Arthur Blank (Falcons owner and the old guy awkwardly nodding his head in the commercial) at a charity auction and bid on some Keith Brooking gear because I felt bad for the dude.  Funny story.  Also, one of the few recent occasion where I felt sorry for a billionaire.)
  • “Rooty” – Basement Jaxx (got to have some Jaxx)

And thats just for starters, son.  More where that came from.

Not as glitzy as sitting on the couch in your underwear writing about ugly babies, but being a DJ probably isn't so bad

1.  Speculator. Rather than just a top five list, this is an expansion of the wpz narrative.  It’s gonna all tie together neatly, like Inception.  (I haven’t seen Inception yet, so I’m hoping that’s true – wanted to be topical.)  If you read this blog frequently, you are aware of at least three facts about me: 1) I’m something of a sommelier; 2) I’m not particularly clever; and 3) I’m always game to try an endeavor eight or so years after it’s fashionable or financially appealing.  Which is why the Chillaxinator is starting a microscopic investment company with a partner.  (And I mean microscopic – assets under management will be about the same amount as lunch for four at Chipotle.)  It really won’t be a huge departure from how I’ve rolled the last two years, anyway, except now I can legitimately operate under the “small business proprietor” umbrella – no longer will I have to hide in the shadows with the other dregs of the internet.

And, like me, everybody thinks they’d be a great speculator; whether the millieu is comic books, houses, options, futures, vintage cheese wrappers, etc. everyone’s firm belief that they are smarter than everyone else usually leads to taking a shot or two at speculation.  I guess that makes me a serial speculator.  Don’t worry, if this doesn’t work out, I have another solid idea – I’ll buy some condos in Miami.  Or I could start an eBay shipping store like in 40 Year Old Virgin.  Sky’s the limit when you have.

(Note: I should hope that this entire site has served as a rolling list of Risk Factors, but don’t worry, our little company will very likely never be open to external investors.  And I’ll still be around here.  But I’m dropping the bling level down to “single bling” to reflect my newfound respectable position in society.)



An Unesteemed Opinion: The Best Drinking Games

An Unesteemed Opinion: The Best Drinking Games

It may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t consider myself a definitive authority on drinking games.  Drinking games have traditionally been a way to coax the unaggressive (or “meek”) to imbibe more heartily – a problem I’ve never really had.  I have entered the arena a few times, largely to get one lameassed friend or another to drink by directing every “give a drink” their way.  I do play a variety of solitary drinking games – drink whenever you see a lion, leopard or cheetah on Big Cat Diary or drink whenever you hear a screeching idiot on any flavor of Real Housewives.  I play such games keep motivated in the absence of drinking competitors/companions.

A word about the image above: I stole it from the internet and know none of the participants.  But I admire and respect many of the things captured in it: steely concentration and focus from someone who is apparently playing solo quarters; a person sporting a killer goatee and playing with a water gun; another person who appears to be about to vomit (or is doing that dance where you really emphasize your heartbeat).  These people are doing it right – kudos.

One problem with drinking games is that they are pretty beercentric; I generally never drink beer.  The most popular drinking games also emphasize skill while diminishing the role of chance – I tend to enjoy card games where the skill is convincing the people that you are getting drunk that they are not drunk and shouldn’t make you do that shot of Cuervo.  That minor squabble is alleviated by the fact that alcohol will eventually reduce the skill factor and level the playing field (somewhat).  To fully flesh out this topic, I had to huddle with esteemed collegiate drinking buddy Bat Rastard – to avoid any charge of plagiarism, consider the entry here an amalgam of our thoughts on the topic.

The Top Five Legitimate Drinking Games

5.  Russian Roulette – I’m gonna put this over Dizzy Izzie (drink from the tap as you spin around the keg, bonus points for not falling down) because it is more game-like and doesn’t require a keg.  The game is pretty simple: start with a six pack, shake up one beer, mix up beers so you don’t know which one was shaken.  Each player sequentially selects a beer – if your chosen beer explodes you have to shotgun the rest of the beers, if it doesn’t, you just shotgun that one.  This is a very short game.   Bonus points for playing with beer and White Russians.

4.  Baseball –  This is all Bat Rastard, but I’m certain I’d be excellent at it.  My likely greatness would undoubtedly leave a suspected-PED-use cloud over the game, so probably for the best.

Baseball works like this:

  • Two teams of at least 3 players
  • Line up four pint glasses, with the glass nearest the “batter” being ¼ full of beer, the next at ½ full, etc
  • Batter bounces a quarter, trying to get it in one of the glasses, each of which represents a single, double, triple, or homerun.  A missed shot is an out and the next player on the batter’s team is up
  • If batter gets a single, double, or triple, opposing team must drink (slam) the cup containing the quarter, and the batter’s team has a man on base (either first, second, or third)
  • If batter gets it in the homerun cup, opposing team drinks all four glasses
  • All runs must be forced in (i.e., get a triple you have a  man on third, must get 3 singles before that run scores)
  • BEST PART:  each team has a designated “steal man” each inning.  If batter’s team has a man on base, batter’s team designates its steal man, who has an entire cup of beer in front of him; other team has a similarly situated steal man.  At any time with a runner on base, the batter’s team steal man can grab his cup and start slamming the beer – the defensive steal man must react and try to slam his beer faster to “throw out” the steal man.  If the batter’s team guy wins, the runner advances
  • Keep track of how many runs each team has and play for 9 innings (rookies), or 3 innings (professionals who can handle all the drinking and constantly attempt to steal)
  • PROS:  gets you drunk quickly, exciting game, much trash talking, super fun to play
  • CONS:  requires tons of beer on hand – MUST have a keg or be at a bar with large pitchers.  Impossible to play with just cans or bottles

3. Swingers Drinking Game – This could be practically any tv show or movie – The Simpsons, Ally McBeal, Glitter – the varieties are endless.  The games usually revolve around drinking whenever something familiar happens, like a dancing baby appearing, or dialog, plot or characters being completely nonsensical (Cool As Ice, Showgirls, Gigli, etc).  Swingers is a perfect game for this – it’s an awesome movie with many iconic scenes, drinking when you hear “baby” or “money” fits perfectly, and you will not make it through the casino scene alive.

2.  Kings –  A drinking card game that I only played a few times, but that I would like to play a few hundred more times.

BR explains:  “Kings is pretty fun – spread a deck of cards out on the table face-down.  Place an empty pitcher in the middle of the table, each player has a full cup of beer. Take turns drawing 1 card, each card means something else (e.g., for the non-face cards, spades mean person to your left drinks the number of drinks on the card, clubs is person on right.  Hearts means everyone drinks, diamonds mean you pick the person who drinks; each person who draws a king pours their entire beer (or as much as they want of their beer, in the wuss version of the game) into the pitcher, last king drawn ends the game with that person downing the entire pitcher; jacks mean make a rule, queens mean something else – I forget).  There are an infinite number of variations on this game.  I’m not a huge fan of the rule-making, though, as it devolves into rules like “no talking” and “no pointing” and a bunch of unenforceable crap that makes it too hard to play after a while.

I disagree on the rules component, I think rules rule.  “No proper nouns,” “must touch your nose before you drink” etc. add a dimension of concentration and enforcement.  I am happy to make sure that the rules are observed, it’s a more socially-accepted version of being a tattle-tail and adds to the consumption.

1.  Quarters – The big daddy of them all.  There’s a strong skill element involved (we all know the guys who could roll the sh-t off their nose and such) but it usually worked out for the best.  I like the “make three shots and make a rule” version, but I’m not sure it’s universal.  I have f-cked up like 7 tables attempting to play quarters on them – not every table can sustain a game – and I respect wood.  A no-brainer for #1, though, they even played it on the much-ballyhooed Freaks and Geeks.  Seth Rogen made $87 playing it with non-alcoholic beer.

Beer shuffleboard has potential
Beer shuffleboard also has potential

Drinking Games We Invented

5.  Three Wise Men –  Being young and foolish, when I was 20 we would just stack three bottles of tequila, rum and vodka and do a shot of the first bottle, and then chase it with shots of the next two bottles.  Repeat until someone projectile vomits.  That person lost.

4.  The “Try Some of This Warm 100 Proof Vodka Mixed With Warm Crazy Horse, You F*cking P*##y” Game –  It’s played just like it sounds.  First person to gag loses.  In its purest form, the game is played in a Home Depot parking lot.

3.  Shots Till You Die –  Not so much a game as performance art.  Gather with a bunch of wuss friends.  Have a solid drinking buddy fly into town; everyone congregate at a bar.  Order ten shots of Goldschlager.  Watch as wusses bitch and moan about having to do one shot of Goldschlager.  You and non-wuss friend each drink five shots of Goldie in rapid succession to the astonishment of others.  Immediately go have a friendly chat with a bouncer, you’ll need that air of familiarity later.

2.  Reverse Quarters –  A true gentleman’s game.  Playing quarters with BR one time on an RV headed to Florida (shout out to a fine RV – the Georgie Boy Cruise Air III), we were having a civil game of traditional quarters, but were disgusted by the negativity of hoping the other would miss – where was the camaraderie?

Even more of a chick magnet than a Murray Moped

So, we changed the dynamic of the game.  Away went the plain-Jane Boone’s Farm (Strawberry Hill) we were playing with, replaced by Turbo Boone’s (Strawberry Hill plus Popov vodka).  We started to drink only when we made a shot (we were hitting about 93% of our shots).  I woke up at 6:00 AM driving down the main drag in Daytona, with an extremely drunk Korean surfing on top of the Cruise Air.  My toenails were painted black.

1.  Proof Palate – (Name courtesy BR)  This is a pretty fun two-man game that only works in a lazy bar environment.  Tell the bartender to bring you two shots of any alcohol he wants, but not to tell you what the spirit actually is.  You each take a sip of a shot, then guess the proof of what you just tasted.  Whoever is furthest from the number has to drink both drinks.  You will learn a lot about the liqueurs that are hidden on the middle shelves playing this game.

A Very Popular Drinking Game I’ve (Sadly) Never Played

Where's the damn net?

Beer Pong – I love booze (not necessarily beer), I love ping pong and I enjoy the competitive drinking scene.  Unfortunately, I’ve only been in the proper environment a handful of times.  Probably my best chance was last year in Cozumel, when I was drinking and playing pong with Bat Rastard himself.  However, it was windy as sh-t (explaining why I got my ass kicked, it was certainly not skill level) and there was no chance of glasses not blowing off the table.

Last month, there were like 30 kids playing beer pong at SO’s brother’s graduation party.  I was all set to give it a shot when two of her brother’s friends came in and said “you must be happy to have another kid out of the house.”  That was slightly deflating, so I took off my argyle sweater and went to sleep at 9:15 PM instead.

Bat’s take:  I like beer pong, but only REAL beer pong, where players use actual ping pong paddles and a ball.  One cup of beer placed at each end of the table and players play ping pong, trying to get the ball to land in the cup at the opposite end.  The game people call beer pong (or “Beirut”) now just involves throwing a ping pong ball at a group of 6 or so cups of beer and trying to land it in them.  It’s retarded.

A Drinking Game That Sucks Because It’s Way Too Complicated – The Goal Is To Drink Not To Remember 10,000 Rules

Asshole – I still don’t know how to play it, there are cards and Presidents and Vice Presidents and sh-t.  Let’s just play Kings and not memorize a f-cking org chart.  (Not to be confused with Cornhole, a pretty fun beanbag tossing game that is quite ripe for a specific drinking variant.)

For The Elite: The Method

They look like potential Methodists

Method –  Method is not so much a drinking game as a way of life.  Do you hate that early part of the evening when you’re at a bar, everybody’s kind of sober, and you have to make boring small talk?  “How’s work?”  “Work’s good, man, thanks for asking.”  If you dislike that sh-t, then maybe you are a Method man.  (Like Batman, Method goes by either “Method” or “The Method.”  Generally scares the sh-t out of people like Batman, too.  Or, the Batman.)

The exact beginnings of method are shrouded in mystery, but legend has it that it started with a man named Milo Minderbender in a seedy bar in Key West.  Milo, supposedly disgusted with the amount of alcohol in the all-you-can-drink-for-$30 gin and tonics, ordered three of them, removed the ice, and drank the remainder as a voluminous shot.

I further refined and marketed Method, and am frequently credited with its creation.  Such attribution is clearly an honor, but is a bit misleading.  Did I switch the actual alcohol consumed from a bevy of weak G&Ts to the Long Island Iced Tea (the real deal, not from a mix)?  Yes, I did.  But the theatrical throwing of ice on the floor was there when I started nurturing the concept.  Is “Method” an awesome name for a drinking style, as well as a great way to kick off a night?  Yes, it is, and I named it.  But it’s not all about glory, it’s about potentially life-threating binge drinking.

Even more advanced methods evolved, fittingly called “Advanced Method”.  There were two different approaches to Advanced Method – one favored doing two consecutive Methods; the other, a shot of tequila or goldschlager followed by Method followed by another shot.  (The latter is also known as “Shot-Method-Shot” and is not recommended.)


(Seriously, nobody wants to win a f-cking $800 iPad?  I might declare have to cancel this contest and just rejoice in the Appley goodness of the first Jobsian product I’ve ever purchased.  Got the 32 gig 3G.)

2200 words?  No wonder this took forever.  Thanks, Bat (The Bat?), for all the help,



Things That Are Not Really Debatable: The Best Board Games Ever (Part II)

Things That Are Not Really Debatable: The Best Board Games Ever (Part II)

Here’s Part II –  See Part I here

5.  Pay Day

Pay Day: Top 10 Candy Bar and Top 10 Game

Description: I haven’t played this game in probably 28 years, but I vividly recall the life lessons it taught.  As a poor bastard from Arkansas, the gameplay prepared you for the life to come: just try to get through the month and pay your damn bills without needing to borrow money.  Welfare, the lottery, getting paid monthly – just like Omar promised, it was all in the game.

Enhanced by Alcohol: I haven’t played this as an adult, because – like it’s more dour cousin Life – Pay Day is a little on the depressing side.  (There are Pay Day loans available at 20% interest that cannot be repaid early – did the game actually inspire the term “payday loans”?)  But, I have to give it props for keeping it real and being pretty fun back in the day – and not including little peg-assed kids as literal reminders of the responsibility and financial burden they represent (thanks, Life).

Fistfight Potential: Not all that high, given that if you play Pay Day now, you might cry a little bit depending on the accuracy of its month-to-month reflection of your situation.

4.  Trivial Pursuit

Kind of looks satanic from above, but is no angel pagan. Mets fan know what's up

Description: Now we are into the big boys, not much to say here, this game is probably Pac-Manesque for most people reading this.  I thought I was a smart little bastard, so I highly enjoyed the ‘suit – a great chance to show the adults what was what.  I’m pretty sure I can still get a pie piece any time that sh-t lands on orange.  And, f-ck brown.  You know what brown can do for me?  Brown can kiss my ass – “which author wrote the 1827 novella The Sky Frowned“?  I’m ten, dude, how should I know?  (Although brown was good preparation for when I went to take the test to be on Jeopardy.  It ain’t no multiple choice, ya’ll, it was 100 questions about operas and sh-t I’d never heard of.  I walked out – still hoping to run into the Cash Cab, though.  And I need to work on my geography.)

Enhanced by Alcohol: The game itself is not enhanced, but the trashtalking takes a giant leap forward.  One huge drawback is the tendency for drunk asses to say the answer aloud to any question they hear uttered.

Fistfight Potential: Moops.  That sh-t is always a possibility.  And given the team nature of the game, you can generally count on at least one domestic disturbance per four couples, based on actual or perceived underperformance (“You buy all those f-cking US Weeklies and you don’t know who was in The Bridges of Madison County?!?!”)

3.  Aggravation

Inspires more rage than you'd suspect

Description: I will probably take a lot of sh-t for this, but this game is an excellent rage igniter, despite the fact that the outcomes are mostly random (although there’s some strategy as players determine whether they want to warp drive it around the board or actively pursue other players).  For those unfamiliar: you race your marbles around the board, based on a roll of the die, in a race to get it to home base before other players f*ck you over.  It’s like a more visceral Uno, with the always-pleasant addition of a die.

(Note: I almost included Trouble on this list, and then recalled that it’s possible I never even played Trouble.  It’s pretty similar to Aggravation but includes the state of the art Pop-O-Matic technology.  I think I felt some misguided affection for Trouble based on Bill Bellamy’s hilarious bit about playing it with his sister when they were supposed to be asleep.  I couldn’t find just the Trouble bit on YouTube, but if you ever come across his stand up on Comedy Central, I highly recommend it (despite what you your preconceived notions of BB might be.))

Enhanced by Alcohol: As with almost everything, that’s a yes.  The more booze, the more aggression, the more the namesake sensation.

Fistfight Potential: Not too high – there are marbles involved.  Difficult to conjure that much aggression when marbles are involved.

2.  Chess

Chess: the game that even models think is awesome

Description: I haven’t researched this, but I assume it’s the oldest game ever – if not, it’s gotta be close.  The name of the pieces are generally also superhero names (with the exception of pawns – nobody wants to be a f-cking pawn).  The closest you will come, in board game form, to mixed martial arts.  Completely strategy-based, no element of chance – you only have yourself to blame.  The visceral thrill of trapping someone is right up there with the sensation just before you launch a punch toward someone’s throat.

It’s tough to put chess second on a list like this, it’s essentially perfect, but I dinged it slightly because it’s only a two player game.  I learned to play as an adult (when I was on a submarine) and was so enthralled that I played at literally every opportunity and even bought a chess book when we finally had two days off.  (Note: chess books are not helpful when playing the normal kind of dumbasses that we all are, not a lot of successful Queen’s Gambits being pulled off by beginners.  Also, Gambit – yet another superhero chess name.)   People who are good at chess are just wired differently; I knew a kid from the academy that supposedly was a master or wizard, and he was a bit of a dipsh-t, but apparently he could literally see into the future when playing chess.

My two chess highlights were both on my submarine: first was almost (and in hindsight, wisely almost) beating the Captain of the ship after I had just learned how to play.  The second was when I was playing one of the really junior guys on our ship, and wasn’t paying attention and lost my queen early.  This could have been massively humiliating, but I struggled back to take down both his rooks and before you know it had re-popped a queen and kicked that ass.

Enhanced by Alcohol: Oh, yes.  If you have two equally matched players, a scorecard and an endless supply of hooch, you are in for a long, long night.  Gameplay will suffer, but you will hear some superb taunts and boasts that sound straight out of King Arthur’s court.

Fistfight Potential: Traditionally a gentleman’s game, but can get ugly quickly when embraced by the crowd that can’t beat the Sega Genesis version of Chessmaster on the easy level.  I found chess to be most frustrating in that, unlike say, tennis – where one person usually trounces the other every time they play- there would be rare victories against better players, but no true breakthrough.  Sigh…if only I was good (and that last sentence was in something similar to grammatically correct English.)

1.  Monopoly

Yeah, I made a replica board on a piece of cloth that I took to school in 3rd grade - didn't everybody?

Description: You know the drill – buy and sell properties, perhaps dabble in the utility and railroad businesses, periodically make $200 just for going about your business.  The game that very likely spawned a century of rental property speculation.  Not quite the science that chess has become, but there have been statistical studies of Monopoly (I’m not gonna say anything about them, just keep buying those railroads!) and there are legitimate world championships and such.  It’s the king.

Although there are official rules, almost every home game plays by some variation: I’m a big believer in putting $500 and all the fines and sh-t into Free Parking, but that’s not in the rules.  Most people are lost on the concept of mortgage and what to do with the properties when someone dies.  Similar to chess, in this game you are looking to completely ruin your opponent – there are no friendly games of Monopoly.  Monopoly is what America is all about: empire-building, competitor-squashing, no-holds-barred success.

Enhanced by Alcohol: Yes, but not if one of your players is a compassionate drunk – that’s not what the game is about.  It’s about kicking people onto the streets and watching them starve, as you laugh and count your stacks of cash.

Fistfight Potential: When you are finishing up training in Groton, CT during the winter, there is not a lot going on.  Sure, you can hit Foxwoods if you can dig your car out of the snow, but sometimes 12 degree whether can sap the desire to even consider walking outside.  So fire up the Monopoly board, a four person game being pretty optimal.  Invariably, this sh-t got out of hand – mostly because motherf-ckers don’t know what constitutes a legitimate trade.

My trade proposals were 100% transparent – so fair that I would take either side of the trade.  Inevitably, people insisted on stupid proposals, or tried to work out earn outs (“you don’t have to pay rent if you land on my greens with hotel if you give me the last red”) or other bullsh-t.  Test the sanctity of the competition and you are likely to get punched, or at a minimum ignite a lot of arguing and board-throwing.

Also, I’m always the thimble.  Don’t even think about taking the thimble.